OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio -- Parents of a preschool student in Olmsted Falls have filed a police report after their son was accidentally left on a school bus last week.
The three-year-old was discovered at the bus garage about 30 minutes after school started. The child was ok, but his parents want the school to take action.
Every morning, Kristen Stropki walks her three-year-old son Wayne to the bus stop. Wayne goes to school four days a week and rides the bus to and from school.
But on Thursday, October 5, Stropki had a big scare when she found out teachers thought Wayne was absent. Stropki called the school after the school system app informed the family Wayne was marked absent.
"I’m starting to panic, and she gets back on the phone and she says, 'Wayne is not in class,' and I said, 'Well, I put him on the bus so where is my son? He’s missing,'" Stropki recounted.
Stropki thought her son was at Olmsted Falls Early Childhood Center, but for the first 30 minutes or so of the day, he was at the bus garage about a mile and a half away.
Olmsted City School Superintendent Dr. Jim Lloyd explained in an email to FOX 8 that the bus driver of Wayne’s bus was distracted when another school bus broke down and forgot to check the seats before returning to the bus garage.
Lloyd said, “Our staff has apologized to the parents several times. We have a tremendous staff and care for students. These things don't happen to us, but obviously now that it has, we are analyzing our protocols and ensuring it never happens again.”
Stropki was stunned that her child could have been forgotten, even if for just a short time.
"I couldn’t move. It took me a few minutes to really think about what I should do. You really don’t think it’s going to happen to you until it does. Even if it’s for ten minutes," she said.
Wayne was OK, and Lloyd said he was not left alone, but Stropki says that doesn’t change the fear she had, not knowing where her child was. She wants the school to take action against the driver or the school aide who was also on the bus.
"It should have been taken a little bit further. I don’t know exactly what, but if it was me. and I left him in a car, I mean, I would be in big trouble," she said.
Superintendent Lloyd spoke with the parents the day after the incident, and asked them to send him any questions or concerns they had. He told FOX 8 he has not received anything from them.